The New York Times recently published this essay:
Maternal Instinct Is a Myth That Men Created
It’s gated, but you can probably get to it here.
The headline accurately reflects a straw man definition of “maternal instinct” no reasonable person would take seriously.
“All around her swirled near-rapturous descriptions of the joys of new motherhood. They all celebrated the same thing — the woman who is able to instantly intuit and satisfy her baby’s every need, and to do it all on her own.”
First, it makes intuition into omniscience and omnipotence. Second, it argues most women are idiots. They believe that.
I’m quite sure that anyone who has spent time around a new mother – a new father perhaps – knows it’s bullshit. That’s why wise women seek mates who will stick around after the baby is born. Faithful, protective, providing fathers are prized by mothers because they support and protect mothers and children. Call it pre-maternal instinct.
Like devotion to their children, prudence in reproductive partner selection is not always displayed by all women, even though the negative consequences of failure to do this are numerous and evident from five hundred thousand years of human evolution.
Which raises another problem with the definition: It assumes (“all on her own“) that a father’s contributions of food, shelter, and defense do not satisfy any (“her baby’s every need“) need of a mother or infant. It also asserts no women help. This defies all our experience. But the NYT claim is that women who feel a special, protective bond to their child are victims of their own false consciousness. And it’s not just humans. At very least it’s mammals. Animals whose females are built to suckle their young.
A mammal’s progeny are expensive, and a much larger percentage of the survival budget for pre-literate hunter-gatherers. Nurturing and protecting a child is a huge investment that for much of our evolutionary history paid off only sporadically. Relatively slow development of mammal young means time spent and resources diverted. The opportunity cost of carrying and caring for a human child is highest of all. Every psychologically coherent human values children, AT THE LEAST, because of the investment in creating them and maintaining their lives. More so when food took the fittest of your tribe huge amounts of time and significant risk to secure, shelter was precarious, and death was lurking in the next tree, behind the next bush, or slithering along in the grass.
Five hundred thousand years of this biological imperative have shaped human psychology. NYT denials notwithstanding.
The burden does fall more heavily on those whose investment is highest: Women, and especially mothers. How can this existential necessity, recognized by all human societies, be detrimental to human well being? Recognizing this is a discovery, not an invention.
I posted this on Twitter in response to the NYT headline: “Try telling that to a Grizzly.”
Other animals were mentioned in others’ Tweets. I was surprised that I saw no responses to the effect that Grizzlies, dogs, etc. aren’t human so the NYT story is still correct. I expected a bunch of whataboutism: “Whatabout animals that abandon their young even before ‘birth’?” Well, a frog, or an ant, has a very low investment in the hundreds or thousands of eggs she lays.
I think “hatching” would be the proper term for these examples, not the bonding experience of live birth, but the TRA cadre is as likely to think about that distinction as is a turkey. What’s the gestation period for turkeys?
“Hatching,” IAC, isn’t pejorative in this context. Many birds treat their young as more important than themselves. Avian mothers will chance death to draw predators away. Female birds instinctively act to prevent species extinction, but the NYT tells us human females demonstrating any such tendency are victims of patriarchal conspiracy.
If human maternal instinct is a patriarchal myth, are Grizzly bears, dogs, and chimpanzees (especially that Bonobo ‘matriarchy’ we’re supposed to be instructed by) mammal outliers?
We are considering homo sapiens, however, and I can’t name any mammal that does not nurture its offspring. If maternal neglect _wasn’t_ a psychological aberration in mammals, there would be no mammals. Characterizing human females as duped out of a heightened sensitivity, of caring deference, to their children is a clear attempt to rewrite five hundred thousand years of evolutionary biology and the psychological consequences. That is, it rejects reality.
Consider the denial of biological fact necessary to say “transwomen are women.” Transwomen don’t have any possibility of bonding with a child they have carried. So women can’t be allowed to either.
Consider our plunging birth rates. Is denigrating female regard for children as a patriarchal plot existentially more threatening than climate change? The climate change people will tell you fewer humans is a good thing. Interests converge.
Consider the insistence on normalizing the sexual fetishes of a small minority. Salacious drag queen performances for toddlers and porn in middle school libraries suggests treating children as acceptable sexual targets; disposable toys.
It is a fantasy consistent with, and necessary to, transphilic dogma. The assertion’s base utility today includes denigrating protective mothers who show up at school board meetings with pointed questions, “Yours is not a natural human reaction, it’s a fascist ideological abomination which the DOJ must call out as incipient terrorism at the behest of Randi Weingarten: Human mothers superior devotion to their children is an invention of the patriarchy. Your children belong to us.”
Why publish this tripe? Because it supports the anti-humanist radical transphiles, abortion absolutists, “all sex is rape” feminists, pedophilia apologists, and climate apocalypse fanatics.
The idea that mothers’ special relationship with their children is a human invention, rather than molded from five hundred thousand years of existential success is patent nonsense. That males invented it is not simply ludicrous, it is actively anti-woman and anti-human.